Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, April 30th, 2020


A V Ramana RaoMay 14th, 2020 at 11:55 am

Hi Dear Mr Wolff
Perhaps South should have passed Three NT. Ironically, on a club lead ( or even a heart lead) from east, North could have made ten tricks and on other leads , he can comfortably make three

bobbywolffMay 14th, 2020 at 2:19 pm


Absolutely no doubt South should have, however he didn’t have that chance, since he opted to rebid 4 hearts instead.

Can anyone really blame him, since there are many North hands where only 4 hearts make with 3NT lacking in one way or another, but usually because of an unstopped pointed suit wherein the defense is able to take advantage?

South could have contented himself with only a 3 heart rebid, to which North probably would have opted 3NT, or, of course, South may have chosen 3NT itself as his rebid, playing North for about the hand he had, not to mention a less than perfect defense by EW, allowing 4 hearts to be scored up with the minor suit squeeze against West (West cashing both his spade honors and then bridging it to East in spades to switch to clubs (which merely sets up the squeeze, but doesn’t defeat the contract).

No doubt the defense would be negligent to do that, but worse defensive plays have likely been made for no other reason, but less than clear winning overall thinking.

We are then left, after discussing this specific hand, with several what ifs, all of which could and should be thought of as learning experiences, eg. the art of getting better at this glorious game we love to play, but to do so, we need to see the advantage of imaginative bidding (South’s potential 3NT jump or his conservative 3 heart rebid, enabling North to guess the better final contract of 3NT).

And do not forget that sometimes 4 hearts will make while 3NT is off an immediate 5 spade tricks (or no squeeze) while 4 hearts is blessed with an unlucky lead from their opponents.

All of the above is needed to be noted by imaginative up and coming players, allowing them to get the true essence of what our superior game is all about and what may be necessary to attain in order to unlock the ability to steadily improve with experience, and at the same time not let often setbacks (down on this hand) deter one’s determination to slowly rise up the ladder in more often than not, choosing to do the right thing.

MirceaMay 14th, 2020 at 4:55 pm

Hi Bobby,

I’m assuming that at trick 2 West played the 5 of spades. If E-W are playing standard remainder count (3 left in the suit), doesn’t that clarify the position for East?

bobbywolffMay 14th, 2020 at 5:25 pm

Hi Mircea,

No doubt West, after the defense had cashed three spades, should have (and for the right reason) defeated the hand, by cancelling declarer’s opportunity to execute a fatal squeeze on EW by switching to a diamond. However, as so often occurs, this key play got lost in West’s mind, enabling a NS bogus game to be made.

What the above has to do with the bidding is, in reality, not important, but only an indication in the trillions of bridge hands played over a lifetime, but does highlight just how difficult perfect defense may turn out to be.

To the victor go the spoils, but this one is clear cut as to who caused it. I’m not quite sure what you were implying with the specific spade to which West played at trick three, keeping in mind the ability of South to falsecard and not show the four, to which he succeeded in doing, but to no avail.

Errors are simply errors, but the key to long term great success and at all levels of play is to try one’s best to make right plays at “crunch time” meaning at the life or death of the result.